I got my ML320 2001 last year with 131000 miles on it, and currently have 159,000 miles on it. I got it cheap from a friend of my dad, who is a mechanic, and assured me he worked on it before he shipped it.
Well, friends come and go, and long story short, took it to a MB mechanic, not a dealer, and he gave me problems of left rear upper control arm breaking off ($1600), battery needs replaced $250, power steering pump $400 or $500 I think, also some things I knew of; the driver window goes down but not up, left passenger door can't lock, machine gun clicking.
Well I bought the control arm from AutoZone for $153, and got a mechanic in the hood working from his home to fix it for $100 and a six pack.
I just top off the power steering fluid, which works, and had to do this twice so far in a little over a year. Maybe should have done it 3 times, but still have almost half bottle left.
Replaced the battery myself for $28, redone battery from a guy doing this for almost 20 years.
Holding on fixing the window and door right now, as the window is up and not planning on rolling down.
After all that, the car started shutting off on me a little after I replaced the battery. Took it to Advanced Auto, and used their hand held diagnosis thing for free, and it said crankshaft position sensor bad. They had two; one for 57, and one for 175, and I bought the cheaper one, and got lucky that was the exact one needed. Mechanic replaced it for $40 and a sixpack, and I think I could have done it myself.
Oh well, tonight the brake thingie is flashing when I press the brakes, and from the manual, this may be the brake fluid that needs to added, which I will try first.
Car's body is horrible, shakes, and just a poorly built car. Nonetheless, it has a lot of problems, but has been the cheapest I've spent to fix any car. Mainly because I ignore the dealers now, and will find out the problem myself, and have my mechanic fix it.
MB may have some stalwart and reliable brands, but this one is dragging their name through the mud.
I also have a 2001 ML320. It is the best car I have ever had. I have 97k miles on it, and beside oil change and brakes, nothing has ever been replaced. In about ten more years, I will look at another one.
You wrote, "the plastic housing under the driver's seat that houses the power seat controls broke twice in the first 6 months that I owned the car."
Did you think that maybe the guy who owned the vehicle before you was a lot heavier that you, and perhaps that you're just the straw that broke the camels back?
Obviously you didn't buy it new, because if you did, anything that broke in 6 months would be replaced free of charge. The plastic piece they installed for you, was done as a courtesy & was a TEMPORARY FIX, not intended to be a permanent solution.
Perhaps if you didn't take the vehicle to a DEALERSHIP to get fixed, you wouldn't get bent over the service desk! Having a car fixed at a dealership after the warranty expired, is like buying golf clubs at the pro shop at the country club! You'll pay twice as much for the exact same things you can buy at a typical sporting goods store.
Find a local mechanic who won't charge you an arm and a leg. There are plenty of people whose references you can check online in most cities.
Hi, I really enjoyed reading your comments; it's helpful to me!!
I am about to buy a 01 ML 320 with 182,000 miles in great condition. Any advice? (only seems to have a little problem with the sunroof, which I won't be opening) Thank you very much. My name is Luis, and my e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org. Hope you have time to reply.
I hope you and your car are doing great nowadays; maybe you are over 250,000??
Have a great week :)